by Martha Sadler
Ed Moses — the embattled head of the county’s Housing and Community Development department — is heading south to take a job as chief executive officer of the Area Housing Authority for Ventura County. Despite speculation from friends and foes alike that he was forced out, Moses insists his July 28 departure has “nothing to do” with the audit of the affordable housing program he administered. Rather, he said, the new job is 15 minutes from his Oxnard home and high-school aged son.
Moses has been a strong partisan player in battles to create more affordable housing over objections from anti-development activists. His adversaries have accused him of allowing beneficiaries to take unfair advantage of the county’s affordable homeownership program. Supporters pointed out that all of the program’s affordable houses were created and sold to their first owners before he came onboard, and Moses himself administered the program’s first audit. Those initial results prompted the Board of Supervisors to order a more intensive, independent audit by the county executive office, which Moses claims he supports. He feels that the program “needed to be saved. It is an extremely important program, one of the only producers of affordable housing that this county has.” Moses added that he is proud of helping to extend the program to include middle-class workers making up to 200 percent of the area’s median income, and of helping to plan an additional 132 affordable homes for the North County.
Moses said he will continue to work with Santa Barbara County as part of a three-county task force he created to raise equity funds for middle-class workforce housing. Meanwhile, results from the continuing investigation into ineligible homeowners’ alleged abuse of the program are due to the Board of Supervisors on July 25, to be followed by an audit of the department’s other affordable housing programs.